West Ham U21 coach Robson: Sparta Prague defeat good for players' experience

West Ham U21 coach Mark Robson says his players will learn from their 1-0 friendly defeat to Sparta Prague.

A first half goal from forward Martin Ambler proved to be the difference between the two sides at the Chigwell Construction Stadium, with the young Irons finding it tough to fashion any true chances of note.

“It was a difficult game,” Robson told whufc.com. “Sparta were a very physical, strong side, and you could see that they play in a men’s league every single week out in the Czech Republic. They’re a very clever team and, to be fair, we struggled a bit with that. It was difficult for some of our younger ones to get into the game.

“We couldn’t quite get in behind them in the first half. We had a bit more of a threat in the second half and put a few more crosses in the box, and was just lacking a little quality in the final third. It was a really, really tough game.

“I thought we were bullied a little bit, because of Sparta’s cleverness and nous. We struggled to break them down and, in the moments when we might have, we didn’t find the ball we needed.

“I said to the lads at the end of the game about that. We put in some great set- pieces but we never got that first contact. That can be hard when you’re playing against a stronger side, but we need to find a way to be a bit more aggressive.”

He added: “I think this is a real learning opportunity for them. To be fair, I think all the games are at the moment. We’ve got a lot of younger players in this side and it’s a different group.

“We have to be honest and say we’re finding it a bit tough at the minute. We’ve just got to be a bit patient with the group but, at the same time, we need one or two to come forward and perhaps offer a little more for us.”